A post from my long-gone Marvel blog about the position of Editor in Chief.
The Editor in Chief of Marvel is, by definition, the most hated man in comics. Doesn’t matter who it is–you look back for the last three decades or so, and the description fits. Joe Quesada. Bob Harras. Tom DeFalco. Jim Shooter. All hated in their day by a certain segment of the audience.
And it comes with the chair. Being the EIC means that, every day, you’re going to be making decisions that somebody out there isn’t going to like, or is going to have a different viewpoint on. But as the guy in the chair, it’s your job to make them, and to see them through to a hopefully-successful conclusion. And by virtue of that process, by virtue of the fact that you’re the guy who gets to implement policy, rather than just wanting to, you’re going to wind up hated.
I think almost everybody goes into the job thinking that they’re the guy who’s going to be able to beat the odds–that simply through blood and sweat and tears and love and devotion, he’s going to be able to sway the masses to his banner and keep them there. It’s a bitter lesson in self-delusion for most of these guys. I think Joe Q has done a better job of this than anybody else in recent memory, and yet you don’t have to go far to find people saying nasty things about him, or counting the days until he’s replaced, or whatnot.
And also just like clockwork, ten or twenty years down the line, there’ll be fans clamoring for the good ol’ days, when the guy who was hated back then was in charge, and all of the comic books were great. Which is self-delusion of a different sort–but human nature is what it is.
For myself, I have no desire to be EIC–I’m having too much fun with the nuts-and-bolts of comic book editing. But I’m also well aware that, if the position is ever offered to you, you pretty much have only two choices: you can take it, or you can get out. Because if you turn it down, you’re inevitably going to find friction with whomever sits down in the chair instead of you.